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NYSDA Responds to Pew Report

ALBANY, NY – The New York State Dental Association (NYSDA) acknowledges the Pew Center on the States recent report Falling Short, Most States Lag On Dental Sealants, which highlights a critical issue: children’s oral health.

NYSDA continues to work to improve access to care and believes that sealant application is just one of many oral health measures that need improvement, with support from public policy makers. Other measures are oral health literacy education, community water fluoridation, school-based interventions (including policies, health education, case finding, referral and organized dental care delivery), enhanced access to affordable insurance coverage, and regular dental checkups.

NYSDA and the New York State Dental Foundation (NYSDF) have worked collaboratively to address access-to-care issues by fighting to maintain Medicaid coverage for dental care, educating patients about the importance of optimal oral health, recruiting dentists to practice in underserved areas, facilitating partnerships between pediatricians and dentists, and promoting public health opportunities within the community, moreover NYSDA and NYSDF have promoted voluntary dental health screenings for students entering grades K, 2, 4, 7 and 10 to identify those children whose conditions require immediate treatment.

NYSDA President P. Deborah Weisfuse, DMD, notes: “As of 2011, New York met or exceeded five of the eight national policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children’s dental health needs; its sealant program is now in place in more than a quarter of the highest risk schools. New York also edged over the threshold for Medicaid utilization, with 38.4 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children receiving dental care in 2009. Clearly, as the Pew Center notes, challenges remain, but NYSDA is proud of the work it has done, which is ongoing as we advocate for optimal oral health of all New Yorkers.”